Saturday, March 16, 2013

Alan Gross tells all

The Maryland company that sent Alan Gross to Cuba refused to tell him what other subcontractors were working on the company's Cuba project, held secret meetings without him, and wanted him to eventually target not only Cuban Jews, but "African-Cubans, women, youths and other religious groups," Gross said in a revealing sworn statement.
The statement, filed in U.S. District Court, gives the most detailed picture to date of how Gross wound up working in Cuba and what he was trying to accomplish.
Gross and his wife, Judith, are suing the company, a federal contractor called DAI, and the U.S. government for $60 million, saying they sent Gross to Cuba "without even the most basic education, training, or warnings, which ultimately resulted in his detention in Cuba."
Gross said he was excited when DAI asked him to take part in the project, but wasn't close to anyone at the company and recalls that one company official ordered him to remove an Obama sticker from his laptop.
Gross set up satellite Internet connections at synagogues in Havana and two other cities part of an effort to get around the socialist government's communication network.
A DAI official asked if his contacts in Cuba's Jewish community could provide "technical support" as part of his project's expansion to other groups in different parts of Cuba. Gross said:
This made me very uncomfortable.
Cuban authorities jailed him in December 2009 and accused him of crimes against the state. Gross said DAI employee Jack McCarthy called his wife afterward and said someone from the company would be stopping by to retrieve his laptop. Judith Gross said in a sworn statement:
...within one week of Alan 's initial detention, Mr. McCarthy contacted me by telephone and said that DAI would need to take Alan's personal laptop from our home to "wipe" certain information from it for Alan's "protection."
DAI representatives subsequently obtained the laptop from me. Within a week after that, Mr. McCarthy advised me to come to DAI to retrieve the laptop, which I did.
My attorneys and I have not yet been able to determine with any certainty what information DAI deleted from Alan's laptop or what other modifications DAI may have performed.
Gross's full statement is below:

AFFIDAVIT OF ALAN GROSS

Alan Gross, do hereby state the following facts based on my personal knowledge:

INTRODUCTION

1. I am a sixty-three year-old United States citizen. I have been imprisoned in Cuba since December 3, 2009, for alleged acts against the Cuban Government. Specifically, I was sentenced, after a summary trial, for "acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the State." My sentence is fifteen years.

2. My wife Judy and I have been married for forty-two years, and we have two children, Nina and Shira.

3. I currently weigh 144 pounds. I am 5 feet, 11 inches tall. When I was arrested, my weight was approximately 254 pounds.

4. Since May of 2010, Judy has resided at 250 I Porter Street, NW, Apartment 116, Washington, DC 20008. Although I cannot currently live with Judy at our home in the District of Columbia due to my incarceration, I intend to do so upon my release from prison.

5. I was arrested because of my work under a task order sponsored and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development ("USAID"), an independent agency of the United States Government that, by statute, receives foreign policy guidance from the U.S. Secretary of State. The USAID task order (the "Cuba Project") and my specific project (the "ICT Project") were implemented by a Washington-area USAID contractor, Development Alternatives, Inc. ("DAI").

6. I submit this certification in support of the lawsuit that Judy and I filed against the United States of America, based on the conduct of USAID, and against DAI.

7. Because of my continuing imprisonment in Cuba, I have had no access to my written or electronic personal and business files since 2009. I provide the testimony in this certification to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief.

8. I am not permitted to use a computer or other word-processing device, so my attorneys drafted this certification based on three sets of in-person interviews that they conducted with me over the past few months. Specifically, they met with me for two days each session in December 2012, February 2013, and March 2013.

9. I reviewed drafts of the certification, directed my attorneys to make changes as appropriate, and then reviewed and signed this document, which truthfully and accurately states my testimony.

10. I am aware of the accusations set forth in the document entitled "Judgment Number 2" of the Popular Provincial Court of Havana, dated March 11,2011, and the document entitled "Sentence Number 2" of the People's Provincial Tribunal of Havana, dated March 11, 20 II . I also am aware that the accusations in those documents were affirmed in a decision of the People's Supreme Court of Cuba, dated August 4, 2011.

11. I always have disputed, and continue to dispute, the above-referenced allegations and the validity of my conviction. The arbitrary nature of my conviction and continuing detention is confirmed by the 12-page report of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which is dated November 23,2012, and was released to the public on January 8, 2013. That report concludes that my imprisonment is arbitrary and unfair.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND

12. I was born and raised in the New York metropolitan area, specifically in New Hyde Park, New York, on Long Island. My parents were children of Jewish immigrants who, after coming to the United States from Eastern Europe, lived in New York City and Baltimore, Maryland, respectively.

13. In 1959, my parents, siblings, and I moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where I completed my public school education.

14. Upon graduating high school in 1967, I enrolled at the University of Maryland - College Park. Two years later, I joined the National Guard, and served on active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey. I then attended college at night at the University of Maryland, majoring in Sociology, and I was awarded a Bachelor of Science in 1978.

15. My wife Judy and I began dating after graduating high school, when we were 18 years old. We married in 1970.

16. After being released from active duty in 1970, I worked for my father in his window cleaning business in Baltimore.

17. After graduating from college in 1978, I continued my studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, where I obtained a Master of Social Work ("MSW") degree.

18. During this period, I joined the staff of the B 'nai B'rith Youth Organization ("BBYO"), where I worked full time until 1980. From 1980 to 1983, I worked for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington ("Jewish Federation").

19. I subsequently worked with my brother-in-law in his import/export business, where I first was exposed to international markets.

20. In 1983, I decided to start my own business. I founded Comrex Associates ("Comrex"), a small business engaging in economic and community development projects. Comrex worked with companies on both privately-funded and government-funded projects.

21. In 1987, I was recruited by Nathan Associates, an economic and management consulting finn. I worked there as a principal associate until 1991. It was during this job that I first began focusing on international development work, as opposed to domestic community development projects.

22. In 1991, I decided to go back out on my own. I founded a company called A.P. Gross & Co., Inc., a single member corporation that would specialize in international development projects. I worked primarily in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, often in Israel.

23. I deactivated A.P. Gross & Co., Inc., in 2001, after the events of 9/11 caused the international development market to stall, and formed the Joint Business Development Center, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit development organization. I subsequently dissolved the non-profit and formed a single member, for-profit limited liability company ("JBDC").

24. As JBDC's only member, I controlled all aspects of the business. For instance, I signed JBDC's certificate of formation and am listed as its resident agent; I am listed as JBDC's sole member on its operating agreement.

25. I also had, and exercised, the option to file tax returns that treated JBDC as a sole proprietorship under the federal tax code. Specifically, I did not elect to have JBDC treated as a corporation for tax purposes. I attached the tax returns for JBDC to my personal lax returns when I filed them.

26. For the last ten years before my arrest, my projects through JBDC focused primarily on facilitating the use of information and communications technology ("ICT") to aid citizens in other countries with limited access to ICT. Over this period, I set up and managed approximately 150 fixed-earth stations to increase Internet access.

27. To do this work, I usually would purchase the required components and assemble what I call a "teleo in a bag." These kits would contain "BGANS," which are commercially-available modems that permit connectivity from anywhere in the world by accessing satellites.

28. The kits also would contain "SIM cards," which were inserted into the BGANS to provide verification of authorized users, just as they do in cellular phones. Each SIM card contains unique account information in order to verify to the particular provider that the account is active.

29. I purchased the BGANS and SIM cards from private, commercial suppliers; I never obtained any BGANS, SIM cards, or other materials from the U.S. military or other agencies of the U.S . Government. I obtained the other equipment for the "teleo in a bag" kits, such as cell phones and laptops, from ordinary retail outlets, including Best Buy, Costco, and Amazon.

30. As I noted above, I began working in the international development field in 1987, when I joined Nathan Associates. I became increasingly interested in international development work because this line of work offered me a chance to use my social work background and business skills in an international context. I believe that economic stability, particularly the development of small business, is the key to security and a better quality of life for all citizens.

31. Before my arrest in Cuba in December 2009, I had worked in the international development sector for approximately 30 years.

32. I also had been working with Jewish communities since I was a teenager. Prior to working for BBYO as a young adult, I began participating in the organization's programs at the age of 14. Further, as part of my international development career, I also had worked on several development projects with numerous Jewish communities around the world, including Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Israel, and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. My Jewish faith always has been an important part of my identity; my parents saw to it that I went to Hebrew school, that I became a Bar Mitzvah when I was 13, and that we celebrated the Jewish holidays.

33. Before the project that led to my arrest, I had worked on numerous USAID sponsored
projects throughout the world.

34. The USAID-sponsored projects usually involved at least one primary government contractor; on occasion it was DAI, more often it was another company.

35. Specifically, although I never had worked directly for DAI before the project that resulted in my arrest, I had collaborated with DAI previously on a number of other projects. For example, while working at Nathan Associates in the late 1980s, I worked on several Indefinite Quantity Contracts, under which Nathan was the prime contractor and DAI was the subcontractor, or vice versa. Sometimes I worked with DAI, and sometimes I worked with prime contractors competing with DAI for the same projects.

36. Indefinite Quantity Contracts ("IQCs") are contracts between the U.S. Government and government contractors that provide an overall framework for the granting of more specific contracts, often referred to as "task orders," for particular projects. An IQC, for example, might contain a cap on total government payments to the contractor, regardless of the number of task orders issued under the IQC.

37. In my experience, USAID typically would assign one "Cognizant Technical Officer" ("CTO") to oversee all task orders for projects issued under an IQC.

38. Contractors like DAI, by contrast, typically would assign a separate "Chief of Party" or "Project Director" for each specific task order, even ones issued under the same IQC.

39. Further, in countries where USAID has representative offices, or "missions," the USAID CTO for a project often could be located in-country, at the mission; I refer to such projects as "mission-based" projects.

40. In my experience, if a USAID project was Washington-based, there might be some involvement by the USAID mission in-country, but the CTO would typically be based in Washington, D.C.

41. I do not believe that USAID has a mission in Cuba.

42. In my experience, USAID typically would initiate the contracting process by putting out requests for proposals ("RFPs") to contractors.

43 . When issuing RFPs, USAID typically would attempt to define what objectives the agency wanted to accomplish, and USAID would expect contractors 10 develop strategic plans for how best to achieve those goals; these plans, although ultimately subject to USAID approval, were typically designed by contractors and provided those contractors with an opportunity to demonstrate their expertise and capabilities.

44. During my 30 years of doing international development work before my imprisonment in Cuba, I came to understand that all development projects in foreign countries come with at least some level of risk. These risks would include sickness, accidents, and criminal activity by irregular and unconventional groups and actors. Far less common are risks posed by host country governments, even those that may not fully agree with USAID's activities in-country.

45. On several occasions, I did turn down or otherwise refuse to continue work that posed what I believed to be unacceptable risks to my safety, the safety of those working with me, or the success of the project.

46. For example, during 2003, I worked as a subcontractor on a USAID project in Iraq. During my time there, I came to feel that there was a lack of appropriate security and oversight; for instance, I was able to drive a truck filled with technological equipment through a security checkpoint without anyone asking to see my driver's license, passport, or other identification. Not only did I refuse to return to Iraq, I refused to continue sending any of the other people working for me on the project. I made this decision even though it entailed a significant cut in my compensation, particularly given that I and other subcontractors received enhanced compensation, or "hazard pay," based on the fact that Iraq was a war-zone.

47. I also previously rejected a project in Cuba. Specifically, in the summer of 2004, I traveled to Cuba in conjunction with the Pan American Development Foundation ("PADF") to deliver medicine to a local representative of the Cuban community, and to assess potential future development project opportunities with PADF. I stayed only three days. After my return, at PADF's request, I submitted a proposal for a project designed to increase technology access in Cuba. PADF did not accept my proposal, and instead came back with a counter·proposal that I thought was imprudent from a feasibility/management perspective. So I rejected the proposed project.

48. I am proud to say that due to the care I took in both my selection and implementation of projects over the years, this pending lawsuit is the first time that I have ever had to initiate litigation against anyone. Indeed, my only other involvement in litigation of any kind was as a fact witness in a business dispute.

49. Similarly, before the project that led to my arrest, I had never been injured, detained, arrested, or charged with violating the laws of another country, whether in the course of my development work or otherwise.

THE CUBA PROJECT

DAI's RFP, My Response, and Our Dealings Leading Up to My Subcontract

50. DAI first contacted me about the Cuba Project by email in late October of 2008. Prior to that time, I had not solicited or made any inquiries to DAI or USAID regarding work in Cuba. The first email from DAI notified me that it was issuing an RFP and requested that I execute an attached non·disclosure agreement. I did so, and then, on October 31 , 2008, I received an email from DAI attaching the RFP in question. In that email and its accompanying RFP, DAI indicated that it was seeking proposals to design and implement new media initiatives that would stimulate and strengthen a range of civil society actors in Cuba, including faith·based groups. The RFP also indicated that the project was being funded by USAID. DAI requested that I submit a proposal for the project. The October 31, 2008 email came from a generic DAI email address; not from a specific person.

51 . As I noted earlier, I had worked with DAI on occasion since getting into international development in 1987.

52. I had attended a luncheon several months earlier, in May or June 2008, at which some DAI representatives were present, and I had heard at that time that USAID had awarded a contract to DAI for a project in Cuba.

53. I was excited when I received DAl's RFP. The potential project provided me with an opportunity to combine my professional interest in technology and international development with my personal passion for helping Jewish communities around the world. Specifically, although DAI's RFP did not specify Cuba's Jewish community as one of the faith-based groups that was to be a focus of the project, I saw this as an opportunity to propose that Cuba's Jewish community be at least one of the groups that we sought to assist with increased media access. In particular, I saw this as an opportunity to help improve connectivity for Cuba's small Jewish community with the rest of the "Diaspora" - their fellow Jews around the world, including relatives in Israel and elsewhere.

54. The potential project also allowed me to pursue these interests in Cuba, a country about which I always had been fascinated. My wife's family had traveled to Cuba many years ago, and since their trip I had been interested in the country and its history, particularly given its location in the Caribbean and its proximity to the United States.

55. I certainly was aware of the strained and often difficult relations between the U.S. and Cuban Governments since the late 1950s.

56. However, despite the longstanding embargo of Cuba by the United States, I understood that there were frequent and open interactions between both the governments and the citizens or the two countries. I understood that Cuban-Americans, for example, regularly were sending money to, speaking on the telephone with, and visiting their relatives in Cuba, even before the more recent easing of travel restrictions that President Obama has implemented since taking office. I also knew that B'nai B'rith and other Jewish organizations had, for many years, sponsored numerous trips for American Jews to visit Cuba and provide assistance to the Jewish community there. Finally, I knew that the U.S. Government maintained an "Interests Section" in Havana, which is a lower-level diplomatic mission (rather than a full-service embassy).

57. At the time I received DAl's RFP on October 31, 2008, I was residing temporarily in southern Virginia, as a volunteer for President (then-Senator) Obama's 2008 presidential election campaign.

58. DAI invited me to appear for a meeting at DAI's offices in Bethesda, Maryland on Thursday, November 6, 2008, two days after the presidential election.

59. When I arrived for the meeting on November 6, 2008, I was escorted into a conference room in which approximately 20 DAI employees were present.

60. This was different from subsequent meetings, which were held in a secure suite designated for DAI employees working on the Cuba Project.

61. I was informed by DAI representatives that only those DAI employees who were working on the Cuba Project had access to the suite.

62. I never was provided with any U.S. Government security clearance in connection with the ICT Project, and thus I never had independent access to this DAI suite or to any of the information in the possession of DAI and USAID about the Cuba Project, the ICT Project, or any potential risks.

63. The only time I ever have had U.S. Government security clearance was during my service in the National Guard from 1969 to 1975.

64. Although, as I noted, I knew some people at DAI from my prior work with the company, I had not previously met any of the OAf employees who attended this meeting and who I was informed would be working on the Cuba Project.

65. Among the DAI representatives that I met at the November 6, 2008 meeting were Mr. John ("Jack") McCarthy, Chief of Party (project director) for my project. I remember vividly meeting Mr. McCarthy, because he specifically asked me to remove the "Obama 2008" sticker that I had on my laptop. To the best of my knowledge, no USAID representatives were present at the meeting.

66. At the meeting, the attending DAI representatives and I discussed various aspects of the planned project, including potential devices to be used to increase media access in Cuba, which communities in the country might be the best ones to assist with increased media access, and how best to enable those communities to use the devices.

67. I submitted a response to DAI's RFP the day after the meeting, on November 7, 2008.

68. In my RFP submission, I made clear that I had visited Cuba only once and that I did not speak Spanish.

69. Nonetheless, I developed a proposal, known as "ICT4Cuba," or its trade name, "Para La Isla," that addressed all of the requirements ofDAI's RFP, particularly the goal of facilitating media access for faith~based groups. Specifically, I chose to focus on Cuba's small Jewish community; I proposed loaning ICT devices such as cell phones, wireless technologies, personal computers, BGANS, and other computer network devices to local community members at each project site, testing the equipment, and then training citizens to use the equipment.

70. As noted, I understood that Cuba and the United States had strained relations, and that the Cuban Government maintained strict control over the island country.

71. I also understood that DAI had submitted its RFP pursuant to a task order from USAID, and I was familiar with some USAID programs from my prior experience with the agency.

72. Although my proposal was responsive to all aspects of the RFP, my personal goal was to help Cuba's small Jewish community connect with the rest of the world through better media access.

73. Although I was aware that at least one synagogue in Havana, known as the Patronado, already had Internet access at the time of my proposal, I wanted to expand the number of synagogues that had such access.

74. After my arrest, I was informed by Cuban Government officials that it was illegal in Cuba to distribute anything funded in whole or in part by USAID. At no point before or during the ICT Project was I aware or warned that activities contemplated by this USAID and DAl-sponsored project were crimes in Cuba.

75. Moreover, although, under U.S. law, US AID funds cannot be used for inherently religious purposes, they can be used to help any organization, including religious organizations, establish better communications capability.

76. Several weeks after I submitted my proposal to DAI on November 7, 2008, DAI responded with a counter-proposal that modified the project scope in my original proposal. The counter-proposal, among other things, changed the number of sites in Cuba in which we would seek to improve media access.

77. Over the next several weeks, DAI and I continued negotiations, and ultimately reached agreement over various aspects of the planned project, such as the number, duration and itineraries of the planned trips to Cuba, which Cuban Jewish community sites would receive equipment, and the precise equipment to be used and distributed.

78. DAI had numerous questions and comments regarding my response to its RFP. Among other inquiries, OAI asked for more details about the targeted beneficiaries of the project, the timing of the project's implementation, and my proposed budget.

79. DAI also made clear to me during these discussions that, irrespective of whether I involved other people in the project, DAI wanted me personally to make the planned trips to Cuba because of my expertise with the technology involved. DAI was insistent that I be on the ground in Cuba although they were well aware of my very limited and brief on-island experience and the fact that I did not speak Spanish.

80. DAI, through Jack McCarthy, also made clear to me that I was to focus solely on installation and set-up of the technology and that I would not be responsible for conveying any political messages or any other content through that equipment. When I asked Mr. McCarthy what, if any, content would be involved in the project, he told me not to worry about it and indicated that DAI would handle any content issues.

81. Although I understood that DAI's selection of me as a subcontractor and the overall scope of work in the subcontract would have to be, and was, approved by USAID, USAID representatives did not participate in any of the discussions I had with DAI about the ICT Project. At no time during my negotiations with DAI leading up to the execution of my subcontract did OAI ever tell me that it was raising its questions or demands about my work at the request of USAID; rather, I understood DAI to be negotiating solely on its own behalf.

82. As part of my proposal and during the ensuing negotiations with OAI, I specifically identified each item of equipment that I proposed to use, and included a proposal regarding which specific equipment I contemplated distributing at each specified location within Cuba.

83 . I included this detailed information in a spreadsheet, which I incorporated into a Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Plan that I provided to OAf at the outset of my work on the ICT Project.

84. As noted, DAI approved all of the equipment that I used during the ICT Project.

85. On February 10,2009, I entered into a subcontract with OAf to carry out the proposed ICT Project.

86. DAI told me that the subcontract that I signed was based on a template that DAI derived from its other subcontracts, although DAI and I did make some modifications to the template before signing, based on the negotiations mentioned above.

87. The subcontract also provided that DAI had to release payments to me no more than 15 days after I submitted my deliverables and invoices to DAI, regardless of whether USAID had approved those deliverables and invoices.

88. I contracted with DAI through my business, JBDC LLC.

89. Since I was the sole employee of JBDC, I executed the DAI subcontract and all of its amendments on behalf of JBDC. Everyone who I hired to help me on the project worked as an independent contractor, not as an employee of JBDC.

My Performance of the Subcontract and My Dealings with DAI During That Period

90. During my trips to Cuba, I had significant success in connecting members of the small Cuban Jewish community to the rest of the world.

91. For example, some of my Cuban contacts were able to have video conferences with friends and relatives in Israel and other parts of the world, using Skype.

92. Similarly, one of the synagogues that I worked with was able to download the weekly Torah readings from the Internet.

93. Other Cuban Jews used the equipment to access Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica in Spanish.

94. Still others were able to download anti-virus programs, to protect the computers that they already had.

95. The president of the Synagogue of Santiago de Cuba noted that the Internet tools and other equipment that I provided to the community were more useful in these respects than any equipment they could have bought in Cuba, even if they had unlimited funds.

96. Another one of my Cuban Jewish contacts noted that I had "showed [him] the world," because I had provided him and his community with access to the "Google Earth" program.

97. During none of my trips to Cuba did I attempt to conceal the equipment in my possession. Each time I arrived at the airport in Havana, airport security and Cuban Customs officials inspected all of my bags, including those containing the equipment. I even told them that the equipment was for the purpose of using computer systems inside synagogues.

98. Cuban Customs officials never raised an objection to my entering Cuba with my equipment, with one exception, which quickly was resolved. On one of my trips, Cuban officials raised a question regarding one piece of equipment that I had brought with me. I offered to let the officials hold onto that piece of equipment, and I told them that I simply would pick it up when I came back to the airport for my return flight to the United States, as I did not want to create any problems or trouble. The Cuban Customs officials actually declined my offer and simply made me pay a duty charge of 100 CUC in order to bring the particular piece of equipment into Cuba.

99. I also was conscientious about complying with all applicable U.S. laws, in accordance with my subcontract with DAI. In particular, [obtained all U.S. Government approvals and licenses I understood were necessary for the equipment that I brought to Cuba in connection with the project. These licenses typically were reviewed by at least two, and sometimes three, Government agencies - Commerce, State, and Treasury.

100. I nonetheless became increasingly concerned for the safety of the Cubans with whom I was working as the project continued.

101. This concern was prompted by comments that my Cuban contacts made to me about the risks of providing them with increased media access that was not controlled by the Cuban Government.

102. Although I initially attributed their comments to paranoia caused by living in a country where the government strictly controls the population, I became increasingly concerned as the project went on that their comments were not unfounded.

103. For example, during my third trip to Cuba, I noticed a government van patrolling the neighborhood around the synagogue with a "whip antenna" designed to detect any radio transmission waves, such as those emitted by the equipment I was providing.

104. Still, my concerns centered upon the safety of local Cuban project participants and potential damage or confiscation of the equipment I was bringing to Cuba.

105. At no time did I think that I had any reason to fear for my own safety or freedom. Although I was generally aware that the Cuban Government attempted to control or limit access to media, neither DAI or USAID ever warned or otherwise infonned me that the ICT Project was illegal under Cuban law, or that I could be subject to a lengthy prison term if detained by Cuban authorities. I never thought that I, as a U.S. citizen working for a U.S. Government contractor, on a project publicly sponsored and funded by the U.S. Government, was at risk of imprisonment in Cuba due to my work on the project.

106. To the contrary, one of my Cuban contacts told me that, at worst, if the Cuban Government decided to crack down on my work, my equipment would be confiscated, and I would be briefly detained and then deported back to the United States.

107. That is why, for example, I used the acronym PNG, for Persona Non Grata, in my May 2009 email memo to DAI, which is attached as an exhibit to this Affidavit. I believed that I was at risk for, at most, being deported from Cuba, not for lengthy imprisonment there.

108. I raised all of these issues, including my concerns about the risks to my Cuban contacts, in the various trip memoranda that I submitted to DAI after each of my trips to Cuba.

109. In each instance, DAI failed to take any action or indeed to respond meaningfully to the issues I raised. I do not recall any discussions or correspondence with DAI that addressed, in any way, the concerns I raised.

110. For example. in May 2009, when I noted these concerns in the memorandum I completed after my second trip to Cuba, DAI responded only by asking me what my contingency plans wcre to complete the project if I was unable or unwilling to remain in Cuba.

11l. Further, DAI actually penalized me for exercising caution during my second trip to Cuba. During that trip, I decided not to bring one larger piece of equipment to a site because I was flying from one part of Cuba to another, on a small plane that would not have allowed me to carry-on the equipment, and I was concerned that in checked it, it would be damaged, stolen, or confiscated. In response, DAI docked my invoice for that trip by 50%.

112. Later, in August or September of2009, after my fourth trip to Cuba and before I returned for my fifth trip, during which I was arrested, Jack McCarthy contacted me and asked me to put together a proposal for so-called "follow-on" activities.

113. These follow-on activities were to expand both the term and the scope of my subcontract with DAI by, for example, targeting new groups such as African-Cubans, women, youths and other religious groups, and adding new locations in Cuba to receive delivery of equipment. Mr. McCarthy also inquired whether members of the Jewish community could serve as technical support for such an expansion. This made me very uncomfortable.

114. Mr. McCarthy also told me that I was DAI's biggest subcontractor on the ICT Project and DAI felt that I was doing a great job, so DAI wanted to expand my work.

115. This conversation confirmed for me that DAI had other subcontractors working on the Cuba Project.

116. Yet, DAI still never identified or discussed any of those subcontractors, and never let me speak with them. This was so despite my previous inquiries on this subject.

117. I complied with Mr. McCarthy's request for a follow-on proposal and prepared what I considered to be an appropriate response.

118. DAI did not agree with the pricing in my response to his request; DAI wanted the pricing to be task-specific and dependent on completion of each task, whereas I had proposed a fixed price for all of the proposed follow-on activities.

119. DAI and I negotiated the pricing issue, and ultimately reached an agreement that I would receive a certain percentage of the fixed price of the contract after completion of each scheduled task.

120. There were no USAID representatives involved in these discussions with me, although I understand that the follow-on activities ultimately had to be, and were, approved by USAlD.

121. In fact, with one exception, I never had any direct dealings with any USAID representatives concerning management or implementation of the ICT Project, including the CTO responsible for overseeing the Cuba Project (and other task orders issued under the IQC between DAI and USAlD).

122. Instead, my dealings on the leT Project were with three DAI representatives: Jack McCarthy, John Herzog, who was responsible for reviewing my trip memoranda and monitoring my project's finances, and a so-called Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) representative whose name I cannot recall.

123. The one exception where I had direct interaction with USAID representatives on the ICT Project was between my fourth and fifth trips to Cuba.

124. At USAID's request, I gave a PowerPoint presentation regarding my work on the ICT Project, at USAID's headquarters in Washington, D.C. DAI representatives also attended the presentation. The attending USAID and DAI representatives said very little during the meeting.

125. Although I was aware that certain major issues, like the decision to proceed with the follow-on activities, had to receive USAID approval, DAl regularly dictated to me how I should proceed with my work on a day-to-day basis, based on what I understood to be DAI's demands, as the attached May 2009 email memo from me to DAI illustrates.

126. In that regard, after my presentation to USAID in September 2009, and shortly before I went back to Cuba for the fifth trip in November 2009, DAl informed me that they had hired an external "Monitoring and Evaluation" consultant, Debra Gish, to travel to Cuba to assess the progress of my work on the ICT Project, and that they wanted me to meet with her in Cuba during my fifth trip.

127. DAI informed me that the planned meeting with Ms. Gish was another important reason to proceed with the fifth, and what became my final trip.

128. DAI made clear to me that Ms. Gish was DAI's consultant and that the planned meeting with her was OAT's idea and desire; DAI never indicated to me that this planned meeting was either conceived by, or being pushed by, USAID.

129. Likewise, when I spoke to Ms. Gish on the telephone, she also made clear that she was working for DAI, not USAID.

130. Once I was in Cuba for the fifth trip, however, DAI's internal Monitoring and Evaluation representative informed me by email that the planned meeting with Ms. Gish was canceled and that I was not to have any further contact with her. So the meeting never took place.

131. Days later, on the night before I was supposed to return to the United States, I was detained.

132. As set forth in more detail in my wife Judy's companion affidavit, several days after my arrest in Cuba, Jack McCarthy contacted Judy, who naturally was completely distraught emotionally about my arrest, and told her that DAI needed to take my personal laptop from my home and "wipe" certain information from it, for my own "protection."

133. DAI came to my house, left with my laptop, and advised Judy to come to DAI to retrieve the laptop within the following week.

134. My attorneys and I have not yet been able to determine with any certainty what information DAI deleted from my laptop or what other modifications DAI may have performed.

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct.

Note: This article was shared with the Center for Democracy in the Americas as part of a six-month collaborative project with non-profit group. See more about our collaboration here.

1 comment:

privatewillis94 said...

In my opinion, Mr. Gross' affidavit should have been redacted so it does not include such personal information as his family's home address and names of his children.